There’s always a friend to be found at Grady

In the weeks leading up to the Grady College Centennial Weekend, April 16-19, we’ll feature a guest blog post authored by a preselected alumnus/alumna.  For ways in which students, faculty, alumni, donors and friends can share Grady College memories and photos in honor of the centennial year, please visit

The Grady College is the first place that truly felt like home for me in Georgia. My folks moved us down here from northern Virginia when I was 10 years old. After suffering through an awkward adolescence where I never really felt like I fit in, I was determined to get the heck out of Georgia. Then I heard about UGA’s journalism program. When I was 16, my high school newspaper advisor told me about a week-long summer program at UGA called the Georgia Journalism Academy. The first time I set foot at Grady, I knew this was where I was meant to be.

For more than a decade, the Grady College has played a significant role in my life. During my undergrad days, my favorite classes were with Dr. Barry Hollander, especially during the UGA Grady at Oxford University study abroad program. Valerie Boyd’s critical writing class was another favorite, as she helped me write my very first blog post. I barely made it out alive of Kent Middleton’s communication law class (thanks Dr. Middleton for passing me). I also had the privilege of being mentored by the legendary Conrad Fink. For a man to dedicate 30 years teaching the “rascals” of the world is pretty special. He knew Grady was the place he wanted to be, where his legacy would be passed on.

In addition to working with my esteemed professors, I had the phenomenal opportunity to work for Grady. Coming full circle, I helped Joe Dennis (MA ’07) at the Georgia Scholastic Press Association (GSPA) run the very same Georgia Journalism Academy I had attended as a high school student. During my junior year I worked as a student assistant for the Peabody Awards. I was lucky enough to attend the 2006 Peabody Awards at the Waldorf Astoria in New York City and then attend the after party with the various celebrities and Grady College crew. Thanks again to Horace Newcomb, Nate Kohn, and my pal Lauren Clayton (MA '06) who got me that job. 

There's always a friend to be found at Grady. Parker Middleton helped coach me through the admissions process before she became director of development for Grady. I also served as a Grady Ambassador the first year Karen Andrews (ABJ '03, MA '11) took over. Now I get to help Karen, Diane Murray (ABJ ’89) and their crew promote our centennial celebration.

I’m so excited to celebrate Grady’s 100th birthday. The Grady College changed my life in the most profound ways. I made some of my best friends here, and continue to make amazing connections as an alumna. Just last week I met Colleen Oakley (ABJ ’02)—a fellow Grady grad who built an incredible career in the magazine industry and just published her first book “Before I Go”. Roger Strauss (ABJ ’80)—a CNN original who graduated from Grady and spent 34 years working at the network—now runs Friday Date Night with his wife, Eve, and I see him regularly at blogger meetups. Roger and I both already have our tickets for the Centennial Gala, and you can get yours here.

For everything that Grady’s given me—my career, my network, my mentors and friends—the least I can do is put on a party dress, sip champagne, and toast to 100 years of our amazing college. I would love to see you in Athens with us on Centennial Weekend. It’s time to come home.

Author Bio

Lauren Morgan Patrick is a 2007 graduate of the Grady College, where she majored in publication management. During her time in Athens, she served as editor-in-chief of The Red & Black, and is a member of Delta Zeta sorority. Since graduation, she’s worked for, Jezebel Magazine, RaceTrac Inc., and now MemberSuite. When she’s not busy creating marketing content for Atlanta’s tech startups, she’s blogging at She also serves on Grady’s Young Alumni Council. Follow her on Twitter @pretty_southern and while you’re at it, follow @UGAGrady too.

More Alumni Reflections:

It’s simple: The Grady family is forever by Michael Gray (ABJ '11)

Date: January 20, 2015
Author:  Lauren Patrick,